Royal Mail has reversed its decision not to hold a consultation with clients on the new Delivered by Royal Mail stamp, which was due to be launched in mid-September and is now expected to be delayed until 2012.
The controversial stamp, which was announced last week after eight months of internal consultation, attracted widespread criticism from the direct mail sector due to the lack of consultation with clients and the short timescale for introduction.
Several mailing houses, as well as the DMA and downstream access (DSA) providers, pointed out that this would have left clients with months of pre-printed envelope stock and catalogues that would be defaced by the mark, the proposed positioning of which clashes with the location of many firms' own advertising messages.
The welcome development marks a complete U-turn from Royal Mail's stance last week, when a spokesman for the postal operator told PrintWeek: "We have informed the regulator and are now notifying customers of our decision to print the mark on letters. Current regulation does not require us to consult on this."
Commenting on the about face, a Royal Mail spokesman said: "We are listening to the comments of the direct mail industry. As a result of this feedback, we have decided to take additional time to consider our plans for the introduction of the Royal Mail mark.
"We continue to listen to our customers and the industry. We will continue to discuss our plans and the timescales with customers to help give adequate time to use up existing stationery and, if necessary, make changes to the design of their envelopes."
The DMA, which led the protests against last week's announcement, welcomed Royal Mail's rethink. Alex Walsh, head of postal and environmental affairs at the DMA said: "We're delighted that our actions have resulted in extending the period of time Royal Mail says it will take before implementing its plans.
"It gives us more breathing space to continue the fight to establish the principle that Royal Mail shouldn't add anything to their customers' mail that isn't strictly required for operational reasons.
"We have no problem with the concept providing it’s only done with the full agreement of their customers. We’re pleased that our actions have had a positive effect and that Royal Mail has responded to industry concerns."